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Aerial view of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on a vibrant summer day. The river looks calm, the mountain is clear, and the green spaces of the city are shining with life.

All About Moving to Chattanooga — Tennessee’s Scenic City


by Matt Lyons Posted on December 21, 2023

When you think of Tennessee, major cities like Nashville and Memphis are probably the first places that come to mind. The state as a whole is famous for its fantastic music scene, vibrant culture, and outdoor beauty — and you can get a taste of all of that in those major cities. But there are also plenty of other charming cities within the state that are often overlooked. One of these cities? Chattanooga. If you’re planning a move to Tennessee, you’ll definitely want to consider moving to Chattanooga. This “Scenic City” has tons to offer residents, from its spectacular food scene and gorgeous natural beauty to its thriving arts scene and more.


Planning a move to Chattanooga? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

About Chattanooga

Situated along the Moccasin Bend of the Tennessee River, the city of Chattanooga is located near the Georgia border a little over 100 miles north of Atlanta. The site was settled in 1815, when John Ross established Ross’s Landing on the river. The city eventually coined the name it has today from a Muskogee word for the nearby Lookout Mountain, which means “rock rising to a point.” 

With a population of approximately 184,100 and a median age of around 36.7 years old, Chattanooga attracts many of its visitors with a variety of family-friendly attractions, including the unique Creative Discovery Museum

Q: Why are so many people moving to Chattanooga?
An ideal geographical location, affordable cost of living, and lots of outdoor offerings are some of the main reasons why so many people have decided to move to Chattanooga.

Friends throw up peace signs and big smiles while kayaking on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Tennessee River
(Source: Visit Chattanooga via Facebook)

Moving to Chattanooga – Pros and Cons

Just like any city, Chattanooga is going to have its fair share of advantages and disadvantages, which are both important to consider when deciding if the city is truly the right fit. Here are a few of those things to know before moving to Chattanooga.

Pro: Beautiful Outdoor Oasis

The city of Chattanooga is known for its outdoor activities, hence the "Scenic City" nickname. It’s surrounded by the beautiful Tennessee River and the Appalachian Mountains, where residents have easy access to a variety of activities. Some of these include hiking the Lookout Mountain trails, exploring Ruby Falls, and biking through the Riverwalk.

Con: Flooding

The Tennessee River passes through Chattanooga, which means that certain parts of the city are prone to flooding. It’s important for residents to be informed about flood zones and have a plan in place.

Pro: Abundant Arts and Culture Scene 

You can find thriving arts and culture scenes all throughout Tennessee; however, Chattanooga offers something that’s much more unique than other cities. Annual events like the 4 Bridges Arts Festival (hosted by the Association for Visual Arts), art galleries, and theaters are some of the city’s standout qualities. 

Con: Heat and Humidity 

Outdoor adventures are the most fun in the summertime in Chattanooga, since the temperatures are the warmest. However, sometimes the heat mixed with the humidity can be a little too much to handle! We are talking about Tennessee, you know.

Chattanooga Cost of Living 

Is it expensive to live in Chattanooga, Tennessee? Well, unlike many other metro areas throughout the South, Chattanooga offers an affordable, high-quality lifestyle. With a cost of living index of 89.7, the total cost of basic living necessities like housing, health care, and taxes are 10.3 percent lower than the national average of 100. Similarly, Tennessee’s cost of living index of 89.9 is also slightly higher than the Scenic City’s. 

The average home value is $288,500, and the average rent in Chattanooga for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,400. The city also has a combined sales tax rate of 9.25 percent, about 7 percent of which is the state sales tax rate. 

Q: Is it cheaper to live in Chattanooga or Nashville?
With a cost of living index of 104.7 in Nashville, Chattanooga is definitely the cheaper choice!

Chattanooga Climate and Weather 

For those who enjoy getting to experience each of the four seasons, Chattanooga offers hot and muggy summers along with cold and wet winters. The hot season in the city lasts from May to September, with an average daily high of 81 degrees Fahrenheit. And November through February are the coldest months of the year, with average daily high temperatures below 58 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A woman is riding a rental bike from Bike Chattanooga across a bridge in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Bike Chattanooga rents out bikes in the city for an easy way to get from place to place.
(Source: Bike Chattanooga via Facebook)

Getting Around Chattanooga 

The public transportation system of Chattanooga only has a Transit Score of 47, so it isn't as convenient or extensive as some major cities. And although the city has a bus system, it doesn't cover every neighborhood, and its routes may not be as frequent as you'd like. 

But while the public transportation system in Chattanooga may not be the best, the city does have a very walkable score of 86. Most errands can be accomplished by foot (and everything else can be done on a bike!), so you won’t need a car or other means of public transportation to get around for most basic necessities. 

Best Places To Live in Chattanooga 

Lookout Mountain, TN

You get a great view of the beautiful Tennessee River Valley from this ridgeline, and it’s one of the city's most popular destinations for tourists. It's also a great place to live for all walks of life, particularly for young professionals, as there are many fun local attractions, shops, and some of the best restaurants in the Chattanooga area, including Massey’s Kitchen for a variety of made-from-scratch cuisine options and 1885 Grill for seafood.

Although people come to Lookout Mountain to view the river and cityscape, residents also enjoy the vibrant small-town spirit. There are a variety of attractions, such as the Incline Railway and Ruby Falls, as well as gift shops, restaurants, and antique stores in the town center. Rock City Gardens is one of the most popular local attractions that features picturesque views of seven states.

Besides the attractions, residents have easy access to the area's hiking trails, which offer spectacular views and sunsets. There are also a variety of real estate offerings, including single-family homes and master-planned communities.

Red Bank, TN

The Red Bank suburb is located north of Chattanooga and offers a small-town feel with just a short commute to downtown and the North Shore. Red Bank is popular for its variety of great restaurants, from Dub's Place to Typhoon of Tokyo, along with a variety of great events and proximity to healthcare facilities ideal for retirees. 

The downtown area of Red Bank is known for its live music and events throughout the year, such as the annual Christmas Festival & Parade. And businesses such as healthcare facilities and the Chattanooga Airport can be easily accessed by Highway 27. The Life Care Center of Red Bank is also one of the best nursing homes in the area.

Looking to buy in Red Bank? The area offers a wide range of home styles and real estate options, including single-family houses, townhomes, and gated communities.

A woman is standing on Edward’s Point on Signal Mountain in Tennessee, looking out over Walden’s Ridge and the river below.

Edward’s Point on Signal Mountain
(Source: Visit Chattanooga via Facebook)

Signal Mountain, TN

Located just outside of Chattanooga, Signal Mountain is a quaint area that's surrounded by mountains. It has great schools that draw in lots of families and beautiful views in every direction — particularly from Signal Point Park. Historic homes and single-family construction homes are most common within the area. 
If you're looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Signal Mountain is the community for you. It has plenty of beautiful hiking trails, winding lanes, and scenic views. Residents are lucky to enjoy the peaceful environment surrounded by a variety of outdoor activities.
There are also various live music venues and a community theater, Signal Mountain Playhouse, as well as a trendy online local farmer’s market that's held every Saturday through Tuesday. 


Q: Is moving to Chattanooga a good idea?
If you’re looking for a unique, under-the-radar city that provides a high quality of living, then moving to Chattanooga is certainly a good idea.

Things To Do in Chattanooga 

In Chattanooga, you'll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, such as mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, and white water rafting. Needless to say, there are plenty of parks and green spaces to explore.

The city also has plenty of renowned art spaces and museums. With a vibrant cultural scene that's dedicated to the visual arts, there are all kinds of art exhibitions and public art installations available to view.

Along with the outdoor activities and vibrant arts and culture scene, the city also hosts various festivals and events throughout the year.

Popular Local Parks To Explore Include:

  • Coolidge Park: This area is located on the city's North Shore, which features an interactive fountain and the world's biggest pedestrian bridge. It is also adjacent to a variety of local art galleries, shops, and restaurants, and it’s part of the Tennessee Riverwalk.
  • Rock City Gardens: This area is famous for its natural rock formations, which can be viewed from various vantage points in Chattanooga. After you’re done exploring the formations, trails, and gardens, take a moment to do some shopping or grab a bite to eat.

Other Fun Places To Explore and Local Events To Attend Include:

  • Hunter Museum of American Art: This museum features over 100 years of architecture and holds the Southeast's largest collection of American art, which dates back to the 1700s.
  • Bessie Smith Cultural Center and Chattanooga African American Museum: The museum aims to celebrate and educate residents in African-American culture and history through art, exhibitions, and programs that feature notable figures from the region.
  • Chattanooga Market: This event, which takes place every Sunday from April until December, is regarded as the largest farmers' market in the region.
  • Moon River Music Festival: The Moon River Music Festival takes place every September and is regarded as one of the most successful music festivals in the city.

A family of four is standing by their PODS portable moving container which has been efficiently loaded with moving boxes and furniture.

Moving to Chattanooga 

You certainly have options when it comes to moving companies in Chattanooga. Sure, you can hire typical Chattanooga movers, but you may want to consider renting a moving truck, taking advantage of a moving and storage container, or doing a hybrid approach instead. Here’s a brief breakdown to get you started.

DIY With a Rental Truck

Although hiring a professional mover can make the process of moving easier, it will also result in higher costs. If you are willing to handle the task on your own, you can save money by packing and loading all of your belongings yourself (or with the help of some kind friends and family members!) and taking a moving truck rental to Chattanooga instead. Moving across the country will be cheaper with a truck; however, it can also be a lot more time consuming and challenging, as well. 

Full-Service Movers

If you have the funds and want someone else to handle the work, a full-service moving company might be the best option for you. Although it can be very expensive, it’s also convenient and can help you avoid the mess that comes with moving on your own. Some drawbacks? There's the risk of your items getting lost in someone else's hands, and you won't be able to oversee the entire process — not to mention you’ll be on someone else’s schedule. 

PODS Portable Moving Containers

Rather than dealing with the costs and timing of a traditional move, you can have more control over the process by utilizing a portable container from PODS. You only pay for what you need, and you can load them on your own time, with additional packing and loading assistance, if necessary. And with one month of built-in storage for each move, it’s a much less expensive alternative to full-service moving. 

The Cost of Moving to Chattanooga 

The cost of moving to Chattanooga, TN, varies, of course, depending on factors such as how far you’re moving and what type of moving services you’re using. How much you’re moving will also factor into the total moving cost, so consider doing a little decluttering while you pack, if you’re able to!

If you see the potential for a Chattanooga move in your future, get a free local moving quote from PODS.com or a long-distance quote by calling 877-350-7637

PODS Can Help Make Your Chattanooga Move an Easy One

You have a variety of options when it comes to Chattanooga moving services; however, you can make your move to Chattanooga as easy as possible with the help of PODS. They can deliver a moving and storage container right to your driveway, and when it’s all loaded, they’ll pick it up and take it straight to your new home. There's no need to worry about rushing to settle in, either, as a month's worth of storage is included with every move.

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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